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City Sports: Manchester ponders JFK twin bills

A FEW weeks back at JFK Coliseum, Chris Donovan, director of athletics for Manchester public schools, met with hockey coaches from two of those schools — Mark Putney of Memorial and Brian Stone of Central — along with Mike Connell of Trinity High. The subject: scheduling doubleheaders.

"There's some interest, primarily for Division I doubleheaders on Wednesdays," said Donovan. "In March, I have to submit next year's hockey schedule to the NHIAA. Right now I'm just exploring all options."

Donovan understands the appeal of weekday hockey doubleheaders featuring city high school hockey teams at JFK Coliseum, particularly for working parents who have a hard time making it to a 4:30 p.m. face-off.

Coaches like doubleheaders too. They get to lead their team in one game and scout the teams playing in the other.

But doubleheaders come at a price.

Back when Wednesday twin bills regularly took place at the JFK beginning at 6 p.m. — a couple of years before Donovan became director of athletics for the city's public schools last summer — the school district paid the city's Parks and Recreation Department about $85,000 a year for using the rink, Donovan said.

Under an agreement with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the school board, Donovan said Parks and Rec agreed to waive the fee in exchange for the schools sacrificing ice time during prime revenue-producing hours.

The city rents ice time at JFK for $250 per hour from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays. The $250 hourly rate also is charged on weekends from 3 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.

"The rinks are part of the enterprise for the city and are used to generate money for the city," said Donovan.

The city's chief of parks, Don Pinard, said he hasn't had any complaints about the 4:30 p.m. weekday starts.

"There's been no push back from the schools over the starting times," he said. "Actually, in recent years there's been a trend in the city to go the opposite way and start games earlier. City basketball games are now starting at 6:30 p.m., and we've seen soccer start earlier in the fall. There's an effort being made to get kids home at a reasonable hour. Overall for both the schools and the city, things are working out well."

Trinity, a parochial school, plays all of its home hockey games at Sullivan Arena on the campus St. Anselm College in Goffstown. Connell said he wouldn't comment on whether his school would play any of its home games at the JFK next season until he sees the proposal from Donovan.

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ON THE official spring training reporting day for pitchers and catchers, the three Red Sox World Series trophies from this century will be at AutoFair Hyundai across from the Mall of New Hampshire today from 4-6 p.m. The public is welcome, and fans can pose for photos with the trophies. Refreshments will be provided in the AutoFair Hyundai showroom.

Earlier, the trophies will be on display in Hanover and Lebanon, where Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, a Plainfield native, attended high school. In Hanover, the trophies will be at Jesse's Restaurant, 224 Lebanon St., from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. In Lebanon, they'll be at Omer and Bob's sporting goods store, 20 Hanover St., from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster will accompany the trophies throughout their visit to the state.

"City Sports" is published Saturdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email staff reporter John Habib at

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